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How Culture can tell great stories of female discovery

Credit: Daria Koshkina

Today is World Women in Science Day, and we at Museum Strategy Consultancy decided to collect some of their stories told through cultural products:

  • Rosalind Franklin : British chemist, biochemist and crystallographer: to her we owe the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. Anna Ziegler’splay Photograph 51 tells the story of the scientist, played by Nicole Kidman, related to the discovery of the morphology of this molecule. You can find an interview with the actress about her performance and the story linking her to the events of Rosalind Franklin here;
  • Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze: French chemist and noblewoman of the late 18th century. Her deep knowledge in the field of chemistry contributed to the work of her husband, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, through the translation of many publications by British chemists. Famous is Jacques-Louis David’s painting of Mr. and Mrs. Lavoisier inside their scientific laboratory. After restoration and scientific analysis, the MET Museum discovered a different composition of the painting. Here you can listen to the words of Federico Carò, one of the researchers on the Met Museum’s scientific research team;
  • Mary Anning: paleontologist and author of many important finds in the field of Jurassic-era marine fossils, including the first complete skeletons of ichthyosaur and plesiosaur. In 2020, a piece of her story is being told by Francis Lee’s film Ammonite. Above a Wave of the Sea. Here you can listen to the voices of the two lead actresses (Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan) along with the film’s director;
  • Marie Curie: Polish physics, chemistry and mathematics. From Russian Poland, she moved to France where she undertook her studies at the Sorbonne. She discovered radium and polonium, whose name was chosen in honor of her homeland. Alice Milani’s graphic novel Marie Curie succeeds in exploring, through a delicate style, some aspects of the life of the scientist, who was able to overcome the adversities of life guided by her passion for scientific research;
  • Women in Science: TheUniversity of Queensland has created a podcast consisting of twelve episodes where the stories of the university’s female researchers and doctors who have contributed greatly within their field of knowledge have been collected. Episodes of the podcast and their research can be heard here.

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